The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is proud to announce commitments from 19 partner companies in its fourth year of Academy Gold, an entertainment industry internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities. Participating partners include AMC Networks, Bron Studios, Circle of Confusion, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), FotoKem, HBO, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Moving Picture Institute, Panavision/Light Iron, Paradigm Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Telsey + Company, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Warner Bros. The summer program will be virtual due to the on-going global COVID-19 pandemic, and there will be an extension program in the fall for those students whose summer internships were put on hold due to the health crisis.
“We are so thankful for our industry partners, who share the Academy’s commitment to creating meaningful opportunities that move the needle on inclusion in our community,” said Academy governor and Education and Outreach Committee chair Nancy Utley. “Their support is integral to the success of Academy Gold, and we commend them on finding innovative ways to continue their internship programs during this challenging and uncertain time.”
“In the face of a pandemic and our continued efforts to drive equity in our industry, the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Academy Gold program this summer was very clear,” said Academy COO Christine Simmons. “Our pipeline program is even more critical at a time when underrepresented communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The needs are heightened, and we are dedicated to delivering an educational, fun and rewarding virtual experience for these students and young professionals that will change their trajectory in our industry.”
Each of the partners will sponsor up to three of their interns for the program, which kicks off today (6/17) with a two-day orientation that includes Academy governors, members and other industry speakers, studio and agency panels, and virtual tours of the Academy’s Film Archive, Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
This summer, 74 students (including 19 interns placed within the Academy) from across the United States and abroad will participate in Academy Gold. The eight-week program, which concludes with a graduation ceremony on August 8, offers participants networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, a variety of panel discussions on every aspect of filmmaking, and career preparation sessions.
The program also has a production track with online technical workshops and masterclasses for students interested in cinematography, costume design, production design, film editing and sound. In the fall, once production in Los Angeles has resumed and guidelines permit, these 30 students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience shooting scenes on a soundstage and spend time on active productions shadowing various departments. Participants include students from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Pasadena Community College, Santa Monica College, Los Angeles Film School, New York Film Academy, Exceptional Minds and the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Academy members and industry professionals will participate in panels discussing their crafts, including Stephanie Allain (producer); Victoria Alonso (EVP, Production, Marvel Studios); Annie Chang (VP, Creative Technologies, Universal Pictures); Matthew Cherry (writer-director); Jon M. Chu (director); Julie Ann Crommett (VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios); Michael Goi (cinematographer); Tiffany Haddish (actor); Reginald Hudlin (producer-director); Franklin Leonard (founder and CEO, The Black List); Patrushkha Mierzwa (sound technician); Rachel Morrison (cinematographer); Daryn Okada (cinematographer); Academy President David Rubin (casting director); Kimberly Snyder (CEO, Panavision); Wynn P. Thomas (production designer); Karen Rupert Toliver (EVP, Creative, Sony Pictures Animation); Mark Ulano (sound mixer); and Mary Vogt (costume designer), among others.
Upon completion of the program, all Gold interns will be paired with an Academy member for an eight-month mentorship. This past year, members from every branch volunteered their time and support to the program, including such mentors as Bobbi Banks, Sterling K. Brown, Bruce Cohen, Joyce Cox, Michael Goi, Jane Jenkins, Eric Roth, Taura Stinson and Virgil Williams.
Academy Gold affords top film entertainment, technology, production services and digital media companies an opportunity to recruit and educate a nationwide pool of diverse talent. To date, there are nearly 300 past Academy Gold program participants, more than 85% of whom have moved into positions within the industry, with 27% in positions higher than entry level, and represent 74% people of color, 64% women, 30% LGBTQ+ and 6% with disability.
An alumni program has been established to provide a continuum of support for all participants in the Academy’s talent development programs, including the Academy Gold internship program, Student Academy Awards, Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, and the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women. The Gold Alumni Program will provide networking opportunities, access and career advancement services and offer affinity groups for Black and African American, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+ and women alumni to network with others who share similar identities, backgrounds and experiences. The program will also track participants’ career progression and successes through a database, offering a diverse talent pipeline for the industry.
The Academy Gold Production Track is made possible in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Additional support for Academy Gold is provided by The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., Ruderman Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Leon Silverman, and Charles de Limur.